News and notes from PGA TOUR officials for the PGA, Champions and Nationwide tours.
This week will mark the 40th playing of the Verizon Heritage. Since the first playing in 1969, major championship winners have won the event 28 times. Among the past champions at Harbour Town are Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Bob Goalby, Tom Watson (twice), Hale Irwin (3 times), Johnny Miller (twice), Nick Faldo, Davis Love III (5 times), Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Payne Stewart (twice), Nick Price, Bill Rogers, Bob Tway, Justin Leonard, Fuzzy Zoeller (twice) and Hubert Green (twice).
Winning the Verizon Heritage has often led to outstanding seasons. Of the previous 39 winners, 19 finished in the Top-10 by seasons end with 13 finishing among the Top-5.
Davis Love III has not only won this event a record five times, hes also finished in the Top-5 nine times and the Top-10 11 times.
The last three winners on the PGA TOUR have been in their 20s. Andres Romero (26) started the streak at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans followed by Johnson Wagner (28) at the Shell Houston Open. Trevor Immelman (28) continued the trend last week at the Masters Tournament.
More on the 20-somethings: Six of the first 17 events this year have been won by players in their 20s'D.J. Trahan, J.B. Holmes, Sean OHair, Andres Romero, Johnson Wagner and Trevor Immelman.
One more on young guys: Of the Top-30 players on the FedExCup points list, eight are in their 20s--the six players listed above, plus Brandt Snedeker and Steve Marino.
With Trevor Immelman taking this week off, Bernhard Langer (1985) will remain the last player to win the week after winning the Masters. The closest anyone has come since was Vijay Singh who finished T3 in 2000 at the Verizon Heritage.
The Champions Tour heads to the TPC Tampa Bay this week for the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. The course was the fourth hardest on Tour last year, playing to a stroke average of 74.071 (+3.071). It was the toughest non-major course on the 2007 Tour. Four holes'4, 8, 15 and 18'ranked among the 50 toughest holes on Tour last year.
He has a remarkable record at many places, but Hale Irwin has been particularly successful at the TPC Tampa Bay. In 10 career starts, Irwin has a victory, three seconds and a third among his eight Top-10 finishes. Irwin, by the way, is celebrating his 40th year as a professional this season.
Two Champions Tour members made the cut last week at The Masters. Rookies Ian Woosnam (44th) and Sandy Lyle (45th) each survived to play the weekend at Augusta.
When Tom Watson won last years Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am it marked his first career victory in the state of Florida after going winless in 93 previous starts in the state.
The Nationwide Tour returns to Georgia this week for the third annual Athens Regional Foundation Classic. International players have won both previous events'Paul Gow of Australia in 2006 and Martin Laird of Scotland in 2007. The early portion of the 2008 season has continued that trend with four Australians winning in the first six events of the year.
Since the Nationwide Tour began in 1990, it has grown as an international destination. To date, players from 19 different countries have won on the Tour.
Fifteen former Nationwide Tour players made the cut last week at The Masters. Former Nationwide Tour winners Brandt Snedeker and Stewart Cink led the way with T3 finishes.
After taking last week off, the Nationwide Tour will be in action for the next eight weeks before taking a one-week break following the Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, NC.